San Francisco to spend up to $600,000 to paint over George Washington mural

And will they change the school name, George Washington High School, as well?

Most of the $600,000 earmarked for the project will go toward a required environmental review and to cover expected legal challenges.

So most of the money will go into useless paper pushing to make sure that the frogs are okay. Honk Honk.

San Francisco will spend up to $600,000 to paint over historical artwork at a public school depicting the life of George Washington, a mural once seen as educational and innovative but now criticized as racist and degrading for its depiction of black and Native American people.

The “Life of Washington” was painted by Victor Arnautoff, one of the foremost muralists in the San Francisco area during the Great Depression. The San Francisco Board of Education’s decision to paint over the 83-year-old mural is prompting some to worry that other artwork from the so-called New Deal era could face a similar fate because of changing sensitivities.

In addition to depicting Washington as a soldier, surveyor and statesman, the 13-panel, 1,600-square-foot mural at George Washington High School contains images of white pioneers standing over the body of a Native American and slaves working at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.

The board’s decision last week comes at a time when the legacies of Washington and other historical figures who owned slaves are being re-examined. Some cities have changed the names of streets and buildings named after slave owners.

Richard Walker, a professor emeritus of geography at UC Berkeley and director of the history project Living New Deal, said the Washington mural is meant to show the “uncomfortable facts” about America’s first president. For that, it was among many New Deal works of art considered radical when created.

“We on the left ought to welcome the honest portrayal,” Walker said, adding that destroying a piece of art “is the worst way we can deal with historic malfeasance, historic evils.”

Mark Sanchez, vice president of the school board and a third-grade teacher, said students who must walk past the mural during the school day don’t have a choice about seeing the harmful images. “Painting it over represents not only a symbolic fresh start, but a real fresh start,” he said.

Lope Yap Jr., vice president of the Washington High School Alumni Assn. and a 1970 graduate, disagreed, saying when he was a student and saw the mural he was “awed by the subtle ways Arnautoff was able to critique American history.” He said the depictions are “treasures, priceless art” and painting it over is tantamount to pretending the history depicted never happened.

“I’m not into censorship,” Yap said. “I would want to deal with history so we can prevent this from ever happening again.”

The mural is a fresco, which means it’s painted on the wall and can’t easily be removed. Painting it over won’t happen immediately. Should a lawsuit or other delay arise, it will be covered up until the issues are resolved. The board plans to digitally archive the mural.

Most of the $600,000 earmarked for the project will go toward a required environmental review and to cover expected legal challenges.

George Washington High School has about 2,000 students. Nearly all are people of color and many come from low-income families. As early as the 1960s, some students argued the mural’s imagery is offensive and racist. Renewed opposition emerged in recent years amid protests in the South and elsewhere over statues honoring Confederate heroes.

Arnautoff, a Russian-born communist and social critic, was hired with Federal Art Project funds as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, a series of government programs meant to help lift the country out of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

He was one of a group of artists to paint murals at San Francisco’s Coit Tower that prompted anti-communists to delay the tower’s opening. Arnautoff’s piece, called “City Life,” shows urban workers crowding around a newsstand of socialist newspapers and magazines. The piece faced criticism for failing to include the conservative-leaning San Francisco Chronicle.

“Victor Arnautoff was far ahead of his time, and we have yet to catch up with him in terms of making school curriculum more inclusive and historically accurate,” said Harvey Smith, president of the National New Deal Preservation Assn.

Walker and other supporters of the mural worry that painting over it may signal that it’s acceptable to destroy the thousands of other New Deal murals across the country. Activists have been successful in getting a series of New Deal murals at the University of New Mexico covered up. Other New Deal murals in New York and Iowa have been vandalized, as well as painted over and subsequently restored.

“The mural is an immense public treasure during one of the few periods of American history where you had the federal government supporting public art, public spaces, public goods,” Walker said. “It’s been the right that has always attacked the New Deal with its social programs.”

Walker suggested rather than destroying the Washington mural, school officials should simply cover it and require freshmen to take a course on slavery and California’s role in subjugating Native Americans.

$600,000 would pay for a lot of porta-potties so San Fran’s urban outdoorsman don’t have to shit in the streets.


Let’s get rid of any and every piece of art, even if it only offends a single person. History is history is history; and all the whitewashing our brain dead libs can come up with, ain’t gonna change it. Slavery? Whites owned slaves, blacks owned slaves, Native Americans owned slaves. Slaves who were freed owned slaves. Every culture had it’s drug through the shit periods in history. Give me a fucking break you wusses.

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“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street has been removed and renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day to day, and minute by minute. History has stopped! Nothing exists except the present in which the party is always right.” - George Orwell 1984

Sounds like the dichotomy of the progressive party!


Yes… very progressive… just like their Uncle Joe.


Another reason why they were so bent on murdering the Romanovs in cold blood, to erase 300 years of history!

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I would vote that the fresco be left.

But you would likely vote for those who decided to paint over it.

This is the common deception of progressive liberals. When caught doing their unjustifiable and despicable acts, they try to distance themselves… exactly like you did. But they invariably are the ones who elected the people or support the organizations that are behind those same despicable acts.

So predictable. :roll_eyes:

This is shameful as our country’s is being erased and it needs to stop!

Indeterminant Age Non-Binary Unaligned Association

(music sting)

… it’s inoffensive to stay at the IANBUA…

Wait…a literal commie painted this and now they are covering it up because it’s too far to the right?

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Anyone to the Right of McGovern or Alinsky is the far right these days to those on the Left.

All the virtue signaling is at way to advertise conformity, like little birds in a tree “I’m just like you, don’t hurt me!”